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They have long tap roots that can
reach the deep water table, thick bark
to resist annual fires, trunks that can
store water, and leaves that drop of
during the winter to conserve water.
The grasses have adaptations that
discourage animals from grazing on
them; some grasses are too sharp or
bitter tasting for some animals, but
not others, to eat. The side benefit of
this is that every species of animal
has something to eat. Different
species will also eat different parts of
the grass. Many grasses grow from
the bottom up, so that the growth
tissue doesn't get damaged by
grazers. Many plants of the savanna
also have storage organs like bulbs
and corms for making it though the
dry season.
The ground is permanently frozen 10
inches to 3 feet (25 to 100 cm) down
so that trees can't grow there. The
bare and sometimes rocky ground can
only support low growing plants like
mosses, heaths, and lichen. In the
winter it is cold and dark and in the
summer, when the snow and the top
layer of permafrost melt, it is very
soggy and the tundra is covered with
marshes, lakes, bogs and streams that
breed thousands of insects and attract
many migrating birds.
There is barely any vegetation in the
tundra, only about 1,700 different
species, which isn't very much. These
are mostly shrubs, sedges, mosses,
lichens and grasses. There are about
400 varieties of flowers. The growing
season is only about 50 to 60 days
long. There are no trees, except for
some birches in the lower latitudes.
The ground is always frozen beneath
the top layer of soil, so trees can't
send their roots down. Willows do
grow on some parts of the tundra but
only as low carpets about 3 inches (8
cm) high. Most plants grow in a dense
mat of roots which has developed
over thousands of years. The soil is
very low in nutrients and minerals,
except where animal droppings
fertilize the soil.

Hot and Dry Deserts are warm
throughout the fall and spring seasons
and very hot during the summer. the
winters usually have very little if any
rainfall. Cold Deserts have quite a bit
of snow during winter. The summer
and the beginning of the spring are
barely warm enough for a few lichens,
grasses and mosses to grow.

Hot and Dry Deserts vegetation is
very rare. Plants are almost all
ground-hugging shrubs and short
woody trees. All of the leaves are
replete (packed with nutrients). Some
examples of these kinds of plant are
Turpentine Bush, Prickly Pears, and
Brittle Bush. For all of these plants to
survive they have to have
adaptations. Some of the adaptations
in this case are the ability to store
water for long periods of time and the
ability to stand the hot weather.
Cold Desert's plants are scattered. In
areas with little shade,about 10
percent of the ground is covered with
plants. In some areas of sagebrush it
reaches 85 percent. The height of
scrub varies from 15 cm to 122 cm. All
plants are either deciduous and more
or less contain spiny leaves.

About 1/4 of all the medicines we use
come from rainforest plants. Curare
comes from a tropical vine, and is
used as an anesthetic and to relax
muscles during surgery. Quinine, from
the cinchona tree, is used to treat
malaria. A person with lymphocytic
leukemia has a 99% chance that the
disease will go into remission because
of the rosy periwinkle. More than
1,400 varieties of tropical plants are
thought to be potential cures for

All tropical rain forests resemble one
another in some ways. Many of the
trees have straight trunks that don't
branch out for 100 feet or more. There
is no sense in growing branches below
the canopy where there is little light.
The majority of the trees have
smooth, thin bark because there is no
need to protect the them from water
loss and freezing temperatures. It also
makes it difficult for epiphytes and
plant parasites to get a hold on the
trunks. The bark of different species is
so similar that it is difficult to identify
a tree by its bark. Many trees can only
be identified by their flowers.

Deciduous Forest
In deciduous forests there are five
different zones. The first zone is the
Tree Stratum zone. The Tree Stratum
zone contains such trees as oak,
beech, maple, chestnut hickory, elm,
basswood, linden, walnut, and sweet
gum trees. This zone has height
ranges between 60 feet and 100 feet.

The small tree and sapling zone is the
second zone. This zone has young,
and short trees. The third zone is
called the shrub zone. Some of the
shrubs in this zone are
rhododendrons, azaleas, mountain
laurel, and huckleberries. The Herb
zone is the fourth zone. It contains
short plants such as herbal plants. The
final zone is the Ground zone. It
contains lichen, club mosses, and true

The deciduous forest has four distinct
seasons, spring, summer, autumn,
and winter. In the autumn the leaves
change color. During the winter
months the trees lose their leaves.

The animals adapt to the climate by
hibernating in the winter and living off
the land in the other three seasons.
The animals have adapted to the land
by trying the plants in the forest to
see if they are good to eat for a good
supply of food. Also the trees provide
shelter for them. Animal use the trees
for food and a water sources. Most of
the animals are camouflaged to look
like the ground.

The plants have adapted to the forests
by leaning toward the sun. Soaking up
the nutrients in the ground is also a
way of adaptation.

Here is some information about the
temperatures and weather in the
taiga. The average temperature is
below freezing for six months out of
the year. The winter temperature
range is -54 to -1° C (-65 to 30° F).
The winters, as you can see, are really
cold, with lots of snow.
Temperature range in the summer
gets as low as -7° C (20° F). The high
in summer can be 21° C (70° F). The
summers are mostly warm, rainy and
humid. They are also very short with
about 50 to 100 frost free days. The
total precipitation in a year is 30 - 85
cm (12 - 33 in) . The forms the
precipitation comes in are rain, snow
and dew. Most of the precipitation in
the taiga falls as rain in the summer.

The main seasons in the taiga are
winter and summer. The spring and
autumn are so short, you hardly know
they exist. It is either hot and humid
or very cold in the taiga.
There are not a lot of species of plants
in the taiga because of the harsh
conditions. Not many plants can
survive the extreme cold of the taiga
winter. There are some lichens and
mosses, but most plants are
coniferous trees like pine, white
spruce, hemlock and douglas fir.

Coniferous trees are also known as
evergreens. They have long, thin waxy
needles. The wax gives them some
protection from freezing temperatures
and from drying out. Evergreens don't
loose their leaves in the winter like
deciduous trees. They keep their
needles all year long. This is so they
can start photosynthesis as soon as
the weather gets warm. The dark color
of evergreen needles allows them to
absorb heat from the sun and also
helps them start photosynthesis early.

Evergreens in the taiga tend to be thin
and grow close together. This gives
them protection from the cold and
wind. Evergreens also are usually
shaped like an upside down cone to
protects the branches from breaking
under the weight of all that snow. The
snow slides right off the slanted